January is always a great time to spend a few extra hours organizing – especially when it comes to the creative spaces where we make art! Pencils, paint tubes, pads of paper, and brushes all deserve to have a quick wipe down or dusting.
I am the opposite of Marie Kondo. I notoriously hoard art supplies like a squirrel. But I do feel better when I do at least one “deep clean” session at the start of the year. And I’m usually rewarded with a boost of motivation to make more art!
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Here are my favorite supplies for cleaning, organizing, and how I use them.
1. Baby wipes
An all-purpose workhorse for wiping down all tables, easels, and bookshelves. I like to use the fragrance-free option since it usually means that there is no residue or overwhelming scent. Bonus tip: they’re also excellent for routinely cleaning your work area if you use a dusty medium such as pastels or charcoal.
Where to buy: Mama Bear Fragrance Free Water Wipes ($16.99 USD for 6 packs of 72)
2. Label maker
I love my label maker. I’ve had my Brother label maker for over 5 years and it’s still one of the best things I’ve purchased in my lifetime. I use mine to label charging cables, repurposing bottles used for solvent storage, and the front of the drawers holding my pencils.
Where to buy: Brother P-touch label maker ($34.99 USD)
3. Swiffer dusters
These are superb for reaching in narrow spaces behind shelves and computer screens. The static charge means less dust going airborne (and eventually settling back down in the same spot).
Where to buy: Swiffer unscented duster kit ($9.99)
4. Command Hooks
A favorite since the college dormitory days. I could drill holes in my furniture and walls to install hooks, but I prefer having the flexibility that Command hooks offer. If this is your first time hearing about Command strips, they are rated to hold between 0.5 to 5 pounds and attach to a flat surface with removeable double-sided tape. I use the small hooks (0.5 lb weight max) the most often for storing lightweight items such as rulers, rolls of tape, and clipboards.
Where to buy: Command clear small wire hooks (10 hooks, 12 adhesive strips) ($9.99 USD)
Everyone’s storage needs will be different, but my personal philosophy is that the best storage solutions will allow you to quickly find what you need (clear plastic bins) or dedicated small boxes for specific projects. I live in the U.S and my go-to place for plastic storage boxes is Home Depot. With my county’s Covid-19 shelter-in-place order still in effect at the time of this post, I highly recommend placing an online order for curbside pickup.
Where to buy: Home Depot 12 gallon HDX clear storage bin with flip top ($6.98 USD)
Where to buy: Home Depot 4 gallon HDX clear storage bin with flip top ($4.98 USD)
Where to buy: Home Depot 15-Compartment Interlocking Small Parts Organizer in Black (2-Pack) by HDX ($9.88 USD)
Where to buy: Home Depot 13-Compartment Storage Bin Small Parts Organizer by Husky ($5.97 USD)
For more decorative storage options, I really like the photo boxes from Michael’s. Several times a year they produce new designs so I’ve slowly started expanding my box collection. Now I have about a dozen boxes for the art mediums I use less frequently. The boxes are made of sturdy cardboard and are similar in size to a shoebox at 4 x 8 x 12.25 inches.
Where to buy: Michael’s Memory box/Photo Box $5.99 USD (currently on sale for $2.99 USD)
Have a clever way to tidy up your art area or a storage solution that you love? Please share by commenting below.